Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), Ecuador

The Solid State Physics Lab at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) is a research group focused on exploring the structural, electronic, magnetic, and optical properties of nanomaterials, heterostructures, and quantum materials. The Department of Physics, where this lab belongs, has over 50 undergraduate and around 20 postgraduate students. USFQ is a Liberal Arts University, located in the valley of Cumbayá, in Quito, and is recognized as Ecuador´s leading institution of higher education in research and teaching.

Equipment and laboratories:

Materials Fabrication Lab

MFC (Ar, H2, CH4) controlled Tubular furnace 1500°C

Chemical wet bench

Glove box (dry environment)

Muffle furnace 1000°C

Sample Preparation and Characterization Lab

Sputter coater with Au/Pd electrode

Ball and wedge wire bonder

Bruker D8 Advance ECO X-ray diffractometer

Physical Properties Measurements Lab

Quantum Design cryogen free Versalab system (PPMS) with VSM magnetometer

Transport Measurement System: Keithley 6221 current source, Keithley 2182A nanovoltmeter, HP 34420A nanovoltmeter, Stanford Research Systems SRS830 Lock-in amplifier

1.5 Tesla electromagnet (20 amps)

Break Junction for molecular spintronics, magnetoresistance and spin dependent I-V

Conductive AFM setup for single molecule spin dependent I-V

Optical Properties Lab

2 Optical Bench

Single-beam optical tweezer with two different continuum lasers (785 nm and 633 nm)

Thor Labs 4-quadrant CCD Detector

Ocean Optics Spectrometer

Darío Niebieskikwiat

email: dniebieskikwiat(at)usfq.edu.ec

website: https://research.usfq.edu.ec/es/persons/dar%C3%ADo-niebieskikwiat

Academic Function: Vice-dean, College of Sciences and Engineering, POLITÉCNICO, USFQ. Researcher and Professor at POLITÉCNICO, USFQ.

Research interest and expertise:

Dario Niebieskikwiat holds a PhD in Physics from the Balseiro Institute, Bariloche Atomic Center (Argentina) and completed a postdoctoral stay at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (USA). He is Vice-Dean of the College of Science and Engineering and Director of the Program of Master’s in Physics at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador). His areas of interest are quantum and functional materials, nanostructured and low dimensional materials, and strongly correlated electron systems. Among the systems he studies are magnetic transition metal oxides and carbon-based materials in interaction with magnetic nanoparticles. He has experience and scientific publications in the study of the electric, magnetic, and structural properties of materials, using techniques such as X-ray diffraction, magnetometry and electronic transport.

Keywords: Condensed Matter Physics, Nanomaterials, Advanced Materials, Spintronics, Magnetism, Electronic transport

Melissa Infusino

email: minfusino(at)usfq.edu.ec

website: https://research.usfq.edu.ec/es/persons/melissa-infusino

Academic Function: Physics Program Director, College of Sciences and Engineering, POLITÉCNICO, USFQ. Researcher and Professor at POLITÉCNICO, USFQ.

Research interest and expertise:

Melissa Infusino got her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Calabria (Unical, Italy). She is a full-time professor at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador), where she coordinates the Undergraduate Program in Physics. During her postdoctoral years at Unical, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche of Cosenza (CNR, Italy), and Case Western Reserve University (United States), she worked on research projects in photonics and gained expertise and knowledge in plasmonics, gain materials, and liquid crystals. She maintains active collaborations in optical manipulation of micro and nanoparticles with the CNR of Messina (Italy).

Keywords:Optics, Photonics, Optical Tweezers, Structural Colors, Plasmonics

Ernesto Medina Dagger

email: emedina(at)usfq.edu.ec

website: https://research.usfq.edu.ec/es/persons/ernesto-medina-dagger

Academic Function: Researcher and Professor at POLITÉCNICO, USFQ. Adjunct professor at the University of Arizona (United States)

Research interest and expertise:

Ernesto Medina Dagger has a PhD in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States). As a professor at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador), he carries out research projects in spin electronics in low-dimensional systems. He has published more than one hundred high-impact indexed articles. He was Head of the Laboratory of Statistical Physics of Disordered Media at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (Venezuela), where he executed projects in quantum transport, statistical mechanics of granular media, Gauge Theories in Condensed Matter and Quantum Information Theory. He is a regular visiting professor at Université de Lorraine (France) and Technische Universität Dresden (Germany) and, in addition, an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona (United States).

Keywords: Collective Phenomena, Complex Systems, Spin, Molecular Electronics

Pedro Ducos

email: pjducos(at)usfq.edu.ec

website: https://research.usfq.edu.ec/es/persons/pedro-ducos-ru%C3%ADz

Academic Function: Researcher and Professor at POLITÉCNICO, USFQ.

Research interest and expertise:

Pedro Ducos has a PhD in Physics and a Masters in Nanotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania (USA). He is a professor and researcher in the College of Science and Engineering at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador). His research is focused on production and applications of nanometric materials, like graphene, boron nitride, quantum dots and nanoparticles. During his doctorate he worked in sensing for medical applications, such as early detection of prostate cancer and Lyme disease. Currently he is researching magnetic properties of nanometric heterostructures and spin conduction through chiral molecules, both topics are of great interests for applications in spintronics.

Keywords: Nanoscience, Nanotechnology, Graphene, Spintronics, Solid State Physics

Silvana Guitarra

email: sguitarra(at)usfq.edu.ec

website: https://research.usfq.edu.ec/es/persons/silvana-guitarra

Academic Function: Researcher and Professor at POLITÉCNICO, USFQ.

Research interest and expertise:

Silvana Guitarra holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Aix-Marseille in France, specializing in Condensed Matter and Nanoscience. She is a full-time professor and researcher in the Department of Physics at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Her research centers on the characterization of vanadium oxides’ electrical and magnetic properties, with particular emphasis on compounds like calcium vanadate, pure and doped. Her research extends to synthesizing the compounds and determining the crystallographic structure of these materials through X-ray diffraction and Rietveld analysis. Furthermore, she holds the position of Director at the Institute of Micro and Nanoelectronics (IMNE), where she works on the field of nanoelectronics devices, with a particular emphasis on the study of resistive random-access memories (ReRAM) and their potential applications. In addition to her research work, Silvana actively engages in community outreach activities. She leads the « Física Creativa » initiative and collaborates on « Science to the Rescue, » both USFQ projects. Additionally, she represents Ecuador in the International Women in Physics group, part of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).

Keywords: Solid State Physics, Nanotechnology, Physics applied to Nanoelectronics